When this meeting was planned months ago, the tragic war between Israel and the Palestinians which exploded this August had not begun, though as Derek’s paper makes clear, the “peace” was fragile. Not surprisingly our meeting attracted a full house and Derek added to his paper extra notes ( http://www.johnbaxter.org/anvil-discussion-group/palestine-and-the-arab-israeli-conflict-2/ See here the notes Derek Added) listing what has happened in this conflict and giving us some vital statistics.
Rather than read us his paper, he spoke of his partly Jewish background and raised the main issues of the conflict from British and French involvement in 1918 to the declaration of the State of Israel and the subsequent wars.
We then had a brief break so people could pick up something to drink before returning to the large circle of seats where everyone was invited to express their views on the subject. This went extremely well with most taking the option to speak. Only then did we have discussion, questions and answers and again not only did almost everyone take part, but the atmosphere remained calm, thoughtful and people gave the impression of really listening to each other. I think we were all affected by the sheer horror of what we were discussing.
We make a point of providing good refreshments and over these informal discussion continued until we packed up. Derek is to be thanked for an excellent, balanced and well thought through presentation.